Spain Guide

 

 

Panticosa Ski Resort

The ski resort of Panticosa is located in the centre of the Spanish Pyrenean Mountains in the region of Aragon. A band of local inhabitants of this lovely, centuries old village came up with the idea of installing a chair lift to access the local mountain peaks as far back as 1970. Recent innovations and improvements make this one of the most modern, charming but least commercialised resorts in the whole of Spain.

Panticosa lies close to the French border, sharing the Tena Valley with the livelier resort of Formigal. It's 170 kilometres north of Zaragoza's international airport and about 380 kilometres north west of the bigger airport at Barcelona which serves all the major European capitals with charter and schedule flights.

This is a small, relaxed resort built around a village which retains much of its old world charm. The village church dates back to the 16th century and traditional, wholesome Aragonese cuisine figures strongly on local menus which have yet to be hijacked by the demands of mass tourism.

It may not be Val d'Isere but you'll get some good ski ing here with 38 slopes covering a total of 34 kilometres. The pistes consist of four green runs, 14 blue runs, 16 red runs and four black runs. They're serviced by a cable car, six chair lifts and seven drag lifts. The glacial lakes of Asnos and Sabacos are among the newer ski areas which have been developed to enhance Panticosa's reputation as a major player among Spain's increasingly popular winter resorts. For snowboarders there's a special zone with virgin snow and no rocks or other hazardous obstacles.

The lifts are capable of transporting 11,495 skiers per hour and an arsenal of snow making cannons ensures the pistes remain open even in periods of light snowfall. The telecabin can take up to 2,500 skiers an hour from the old town to the heart of the ski areas in just six minutes.

There are several one, two and three star hotels in the resort and self catering apartments available to rent. One of the newest hotels is the three star Hotel Sabacos, just 50 metres from the telecabin. The 28 bedroom hotel has wonderful mountain views and its restaurant specialises in typical Aragonese dishes. If you're feeling adventurous you could try the Colas Montañesas (sheep's tail with tomato), Tripliqates (baby goat's feet with peppers) or the highly alcoholic Poncho (dates, raisins and other mixed fruit cooked in wine).

The village is within easy reach of other ski areas in the Aragonese Pyrenees Formigal, Cerler and Candanchu. Expert skiers will find the black runs and off piste ski ing in Candanchu provide a challenge to rival that of the steepest Alpine slopes. Formigal is the place to go for a livelier après ski scene than you'll find in Panticosa.

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